According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization, over 250 million people suffer from depression worldwide. This is not limited to a certain age group either. Whether you are over the age of 70, or under the age of 25, depression does not favor one age over another. While levels of depression can vary, depression remains a debilitating condition that can be very difficult to live with.
Not only can it be difficult for the person suffering from depression itself, but also hard for the people who care about them. It can be difficult to know what to do when someone is struggling with depression. And while there is no one solution that is effective for everyone, there are ways you can provide compassionate support. Here are some ways you can help someone you love with depression and make a meaningful difference in their life.
Validate How They Feel
When someone is suffering from depression, the last thing they need to hear is a generic “Everything will be okay.” This can come off as dismissive, and in truth, you can’t be sure that everything will be OK.
Instead of making false promises, why not validate how they feel and simply listen? One of the biggest shared complaints that depression sufferers have is feelings of being perceived as misunderstood. If your loved one tells you they’re depressed, ask them questions and listen. Instead of giving advice, simply be a shoulder to lean on and acknowledge their reality, even if you may not agree.
Do Your Research
It helps to educate yourself on what exactly depression is, how it progresses, and what the available treatments are. The more you educate yourself on everything that depression entails, the better you can support your loved one. You can avoid making any common misconceptions and better understand the complexities of what they go through on a daily basis.
As much as you might want to be there for them, the truth is that there is no substitute for professional help, particularly when it comes to clinical depression. In addition to providing your support, you should encourage them to go see a therapist. Make sure that you stress that this is not a substitution for your love and support, but rather in addition to your support. A therapist will be able to provide actionable strategies and a treatment plan, which in many cases can be incredibly effective for managing and even overcoming depression.
It’s not always easy to stay patient with people who are depressed. Our society is all about a happy-go-lucky attitude, so when people fail to look at the bright side of life, it can get under some people’s skin.
Rather than being impatient or frustrated by their so-called negativity, try to practice patience and compassion. Avoid pressuring them into looking at the bright side, and remember that the road to recovery can be a slow process. Eventually, with enough support and the right tools, your loved one can make their way toward healing.